WhatsApp, the instant messaging application relied upon by 1 billion people monthly, will be adding several key features in an upcoming update. With the introduction of voice calling last year, the WhatsApp team will be taking a further step and introducing some features offered by mobile network operators like voicemail and the ability to offer to call back users with the tap of a button through the notification dropdown without having to open the main application.
A report by PhoneRadar which has since been taken down notes that users will be able to leave voicemail if the user they are calling is on another call. It is not yet clear if the same option will be offered if a user is totally unavailable thanks to not being connected to the internet which the service relies on. At the moment, WhatsApp allows users to record and send voice notes.
WhatsApp has been rumoured to be working on introducing video calling.
Early last month, WhatsApp started rolling out support for document sharing to all its users. The service is expected to build on that and expand its file sharing capabilities with support for sharing compressed files among users. Allowing users to send and receive ZIP files means that it will soon be possible to share just about any file using WhatsApp. It is not yet clear if WhatsApp will restrict the functionality by imposing file size limits. Rival messenger apps like Telegram have for long prided themselves in offering support for sharing multiple file formats and more generous file size limits.
WhatsApp which serves over 1 billion users monthly, has rolled out several updates recently that broaden its feature set. The ability to format text (bold, italicize etc) and reply quickly to chats without opening the app is one of the latest additions. WhatsApp is also encrypting calls, messages and multimedia content its users are sharing. This is in a bid to enhance security even though the move has rubbed law enforcement agencies around the world the wrong way. Encrypted communication systems make it harder for government and other agencies to listen in on users and in the process they lose out on tracking the bad guys (terrorists and other criminals) using such systems to organize crime. To counter that narrative, technology firms have insisted that user privacy and confidentiality is of utmost importance.
By adding features that enhance its voice calling capabilities, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is likely to come under more fire by mobile network operators who have been up in arms calling for its regulation in several African countries.
We have no details on when to expect the update.